I guess I just assumed that the MAJORITY of my career was in MY hands... so naturally, I kind of expected everything you just complained about to be status quo for the most part. And since nobody who is a "rising 1L" at UIUC actually spent their 1L year anywhere else, it would only be conjecture to assume that any other school's OCS is really any different unless we have some other T25 1L's in this forum who'd like to chime in.
It would certainly be nice if OCS was more "gung ho" and provided all kinds of data and did more "hand holding" when it comes to job placement, but I don't know about you guys, but I pretty much had to find my own job when I got out of undergrad. Sure, we had OCI and I had several job offers as a result, but I knew exactly where I wanted to live and I was able to turn OCI into my personal "quest" to find a corporation who was hiring and had connections to the part of the country in which I wanted to live... and it worked. Though I did happen to be graduating with honors from a top ranked school in the country for that particular degree at the time... so I suppose that had some bearing on the ease with which I secured a good job.
But then again, why does it matter what gpa's get offers from where? It's not like you can change your GPA at that point... and it's not like you're going to work HARDER to get a specific GPA just to get into that specific firm. You're working as hard as you can to get the VERY BEST grades that you can regardless... so you'll know if your grades were good enough based on your "options" I'd imagine...
Just do your best... get the best grades you can and then use the SHOTGUN METHOD and blast your resume/CV whatever, to EVERY FIRM you would be interested in working for and 1/2 of the ones you don't really want to work for but would and I suppose, hope for the best... (probably similar to how you approached your Law School apps, you had your first choices, your REACHES, your backups... and your WAY backups)
Based on your comments, though, it SOUNDS like UIUC has a long way to go in that area, but again, none of us really know how the other schools truly compare... SURE, we know how they say they work, but we also know how UIUC OCS "says" they work, so it could be a lot of the same no matter where you go, but we just don't know.
Sounds like both of you did "Ok" despite the poor OCS, but do either of you know ANYONE who put in the time and effort to self-promote and actually had decent grades who did NOT find a 1L internship/externship that they were happy with?
You're making me second guess my choice...
Ok, not really. Though I know my #2 choice DOES have an Excellent OCS and I've met and spent time with them, but I also know that they really tend to focus on one market too, so again, not much different that U of I.
I guess when you're paying six figures in tuition at a professional school, the expectation is that the career services office, with multiple fulltime, presumably well-compensated employees, would be more than a non-factor for the small class of students it is supposed to serve. The fact that Illinois isn't in downtown LA or Manhattan only makes their job that much more important. They are uniquely positioned to have access to incredibly valuable information, and even beyond the information, to build relationships with employers who may otherwise choose people from the school down the road. I don't care if other "T-25" schools are equally bad. There are schools in the country that have career services offices that do the things I mention above, where a student can walk in and get information that is more valuable than the collected wisdom of random people on the internet. The fact that I'm referring to Columbia or Chicago is irrelevant.
Let me put it to you this way: Every hour I spend doing research that the CSO should have already done and provided to me on a silver platter was an hour that I didn't spend studying, or with my kids, or reading a novel, or doing any number of things I don't have time to do anymore. Of course I did the research, and of course I'm going to be "ok." I'm going to get a job out of OCI, an enterprise that really has nothing to do with the school. I'm going to shoot for a clerkship, something the career services office seems to be utterly incapable of helping students with. And then I'm going to leave, taking my research, insights, and networking potential with me, leaving the next class to reinvent the wheel all over again.
OR, you could do something to change the way it is now. Sounds like you have enough energy to do something productive with..
Of course then THAT would be time away from your studies, kids, books, etc.
I'm not disagreeing with you that we should be able to expect at least good work from a well-compensated OCS, but I AM disagreeing with the notion that it is THEIR job to get US jobs...(and I know you never said that, but the "notion" is seemingly implied by some in this conversation)
But I don't think asking them to collect and maintain that data when available and making and fostering connections and relationships with hiring managers of firms in places OTHER than Chicago is asking too much for our tuition.
I think you're right there for sure.
I still believe that ultimately, our careers are in our own hands... and clearly YOU do too... because you took matters into your own hands and made things happen. THAT, my friend is what makes a good lawyer and THAT is probably why the School has a great reputation. The "Good" ones know what it takes to get the job... and get the job DONE... and they DO IT. But I don't argue that it would be nice if OCS did THEIR jobs and made our job search easier.
Some of us have more "work-life balance" issues than others... Those of us with spouses and children do have more important things to do than someone ELSE's job, but at the same time, when it is my family's future at stake, you can bet your sweet ass I'm gonna work mine off to make the most contacts and get the best offers possible so maybe, just maybe I can afford to send my kids to a place like U of I some day... or perhaps better!
oh, and BTW... as you know, 6 figures at a Professional school isn't exceptional by any stretch anymore. In fact, it's the norm, so again, while we should be able to expect some hard work from those folks, we shouldn't be surprised when they're no better than "average" at what they do because we're paying about "average" tuition for law school at this point. Sure, there are the outliers, but most schools, even many of the TTT's are in the same neighborhood as UIUC's in state tuition these days and I can't imagine that we're that much worse in terms of OCS than the rest of the bunch... Chicago and Columbia??? Maybe, but should we be surprised about that, really?
The difference in our perspectives explains the difference in our positions, though. I'm looking at it as a potential 1L at UIUC... you, as someone who's already pretty much "stuck" there (not that being stuck in a T25 law school could EVER be a bad thing IMO.)